Organizational structure is challenging. Public companies struggle with it as much as startups do. When I was at Google, I was charged with calculating PM/Engineer ratios by team as part of the research into our company structure. When startups ask me when they should hire a PM or what the span of control should be for a sales team, I share this experience.
First, I’ll share two general observations: flatter reporting structures are better and smaller teams are better. These two conclusions have the same root: Metcalfe’s law. The fewer people within a team, the less communication overhead is required to keep everyone on the same page.
Second, a company has one goal but leverages 4 teams to achieve that goal: engineering, marketing, product and sales. In well run companies, these teams should exert tension on each other. Sales advocates the path to short term revenue growth. Product should advocate…
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